Southern Adventist University students were able to see and experience Adventism's rich history thanks to 2001 graduate Michael Campbell returning to his alma mater to host the Origins of Adventism Tour.
Campbell, who graduated with degrees in history and theology and currently serves as a pastor, became fascinated with Adventist heritage after reading the The Great Controversy as a 13-year-old and began collecting original Adventist books. He conceived the idea of a tour as a student and first made it into reality Fall 1999 with the help of religion professor Jud Lake. This year he returned to host the tour after stints of interning at the White Estate at the end of academy and summers during college, working at the estate's Andrews University branch as a graduate assistant, and at the estate's branch at Loma Linda while completing his doctorates.
"It's significant to remember the sacrifice and commitment our pioneers made for Jesus Christ," Campbell said. "They were young people our age who founded the church. This tour helps catch the idea of what it was to live then, to become passionate about what they were passionate about."
About 25 Southern went on the tour during their mid-term break, October 18-22, visiting historic Adventist sites in New England, such as Joseph Bates' home in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Old Sturbridge Village (a reenactment of daily life in early 19th century America) in Sturbridge, Massachusetts to the birthplace of Uriah Smith in West Wilton, New Hampshire, and the William Miller Farm in Low Hampton, New York.
"This trip is a life-altering experience," said senior theology major Brian Norton. "If you want to see your life changed and have your eyes opened to what happened to us as a Church in the early years, then this is the best way to do it."